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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thieves Steal Artwork Worth Millions of Dollars

Thieves stole a collection of rare paintings worth millions of dollars that an elderly man had been storing unguarded in his empty apartment, Izvestia reported Tuesday.

The 13 paintings stolen from retired Judge Kamo Manukyan included works by Frenchman Georges-Pierre Seurat, the founder of neo-impressionism; Russian seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky; and Russian expressionist Alexej Jawlenski.

"This is a real nightmare. This is a real fortune stolen. You just don't realize how much all this may cost. Millions," said Sofya Chernyak, secretary of the Moscow Fine Arts Collectors' Club.

"All of these painters are widely known. ... A Seurat painting alone costs more than $500,000," she said, Izvestia reported.

Manukyan, 71, returned home from a trip abroad to find the paintings gone. An art collector and dealer, Manukyan supplies artworks to clients that include Alfa Group billionaire Mikhail Fridman, Izvestia said. He is also well-known in the legal community for his achievement in becoming the youngest judge in the Soviet Union at the age of 28.

Police said they could not understand why he did not have an alarm in his Moscow apartment.

"It only costs around 200 rubles [$8] per month," a policeman told Izvestia. "I don't think this would have made a big hole in his pocket." (Reuters, MT)